Officials should set the example

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    `When police in Tondo, Manila or Blumentritt caught residents violating the curfew or the ECQ, they were right away booked in police precincts, given physical punishments such as push-ups, etc’

    THE call for discipline and threats of punishment for the “pasaway” (hard-headed, recidivist, etc.) who do not respect the government’s protocols and regulations on community quarantine in connection with the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic are now under threat.

    This means the government will lose its moral authority to govern, to make the citizens respect and defer to it, if the Duterte administration and the courts do not punish the following, if found beyond reasonable doubt that they violated the quarantine rules:

    — Police General Debold Sinas, chief, National Capital Region Police Office, the partying cop who cannot forgo a birthday celebration even with a pandemic ravaging the country.

    — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel.

    — OWWA official Margaux Uson, with alias, Mocha. Pictures of Mocha and OFWs in Calatagan, Batangas show that they violated the physical distancing and wearing of masks.

    — Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan Mayor Timoteo Villar III, who did another Sinas.

    — and many more government and police officials photographed with Sinas partying in the first morning hours.

    The cases of Uson and Sinas are important because both officials are presidential appointees, and as such, they enjoy tremendous privileges and perks that are denied to ordinary citizens like us. In the case of Uson, you can sense from her boss, the OWWA chief, that he is not interested in investigating this doyen of the presidential circle of friends.

    When police in Tondo, Manila or Blumentritt caught residents violating the curfew or the ECQ, they were right away booked in police precincts, given physical punishments such as push-ups, etc. A fish vendor in Quezon City was whipped with rattan poles for the same quarantine offense, then detained by police. These policemen– all under General Sinas — were not punished, received only a tap in the wrist, for their offenses.

    We remember General Sinas as the guy who confiscated the cellphone of a TV reporter covering the Nazareno procession in Quiapo last January, during that extravaganza called Traslacion. This happened before and after he had tiffs with members of the media about their media office at the Southern Police or NCRPO office.

    Sinas was also the guy who received two promotions in just one day from his superiors at the PNP, ending with his post as chief of the NCRPO. He also showed that he can out-Palparan General Jovito Palparan by dispersing a group of Marikina City residents who were distributing food and other relief goods to the poor of the city. The Marikina activists were assisted by their mayor, Mayor Marcy Teodoro, who defended them by saying that they were doing a legitimate activity, but the residents still had to stay overnight or so under police detention, and had to post bail.

    We distinctly recall having heard General Sinas say in a TV footage-coverage of the Marikina incident that the activists can feed the poor and the hungry but they cannot carry placards criticizing the government, or speak against the government. Sinas is in fact suspending the Bill of Rights and telling the highest duly elected civilian official, Mayor Teodoro, that his own rules should prevail in Marikina!

    As we go to press, General Sinas was explaining that he did not influence the NCRPO Public Information Office in deleting the name of Rambo Talabong of Rappler from the media Viber group, because the reporter wrote about his birthday party.

    This police bully is enforcing his own rules of behavior on the Filipino people, and it is time we see his wings clipped. Duterte’s credibility — just like in the cases of DOT Secretary Wanda Teo, Cesar Montano, DOJ Secretary Aguirre and their two fraternity brothers at the Bureau of Immigration, Mrs. Puno of FDA, and hundreds of others — is again at stake.

    We are most interested in how these quarantine violations of Sinas, Uson, Pimentel, and others will play out.

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